While I’ve tried snowboarding in the past and have absolutely no intention to leave skiing, one aspect of the single board snow sport makes me a good bit jealous (no hate to the sport, I just chose skiing a good while ago and plan to stick with it). While I’m fighting in my boots to walk to the mountain’s base, hike up to non-lift access terrain, or just use the bathroom, snowboarders have the ease of soft, comfortable boots hugging their feet. I’m definitely not alone in this jealousy, and in 2016, Marker released GripWalk technology to combat these issues. So what, exactly, changes with GripWalk?
GripWalk has two significant components. First, there’s the actual GripWalk soles, which create a softer and more ergonomic walking feel while in your ski boots. They feature a ribbed profile made from non-slip material, so tougher terrain is a bit easier to approach, and their rounded sole profile creates a much more natural feel than your normal, flat soled ski boots. According to evo, there are three types of soles defined by the International Standards Organization. The most common comes on your typical Alpine Boot, ISO 5355, and touring boots typically feature soles in the ISO 9523 standard. GripWalk soles, however, fall into ISO 23223, and share the space with other improved walking soles (some ski boots soles fall into a “non conforming” category, like ultra-light touring soles). GripWalk soles can be placed on alpine boots that fall into the ISO 5355 standard.
The second component is the bindings. GripWalk bindings are pretty much just GripWalk compatible bindings. They typically feature a GripWalk logo near the Anti Friction Device. A majority of Marker bindings today, excluding their racing bindings, are GripWalk bindings, but it isn’t limited just to the Marker brand. On top of that, there are bindings that don’t feature the GripWalk logo that might be GripWalk compatible, like Multi Norm Compatible (MNC) bindings.
If you clicked on this page hoping to get some insight as to whether or not you should get GripWalk bindings, let me give you a few things to consider. If you’re just worried about getting from the parking lot or ski lodge to the base of the mountain and back, they probably wouldn’t be that major of a change in your ski trips. However, if you’re planning to do a good bit of hiking on or off resort, or you’ve got a pretty large walk to the base with no shuttle access, these soles could wind up being a life changer. Also, make sure your bindings and boots are compatible! If you’re getting a whole new set up, there’s a good chance it won’t that that big of a price difference, but you don’t want to buy just the soles only to find out you need new boots and new bindings. My biggest tip? Ask your local ski retailer/mechanic. They should know the answer, and if they don’t, they should be able to point you towards someone who does.
Image Credit: Marker Bindings via YouTube